Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Why I Love My Church

{Code Orange Christmas}

Oh, internet. What used to take weeks to circulate now takes mere minutes, thanks to you.

If you don't know, our pastor is building a large house. And a lot of people have a problem with it. A couple of Charlotte news sources have done stories on it, one of the big ones breaking last night. I'm not angry about it, but I'm a little sad because of the way the media puts a specific spin on their reports. It's to be expected. It did lead me to write out a little of why my husband and I choose and love our church. I wrote this in my personal livejournal (which I'm pretty sure no one reads, thankfully), but I wanted to share it. Like I said, I'm not angry or bitter or trying to be defensive. But I do love and honor my pastor for his work in preaching the Gospel of Jesus. I'm thankful for the influence he has had on my life, and I know that being of part of this church is a blessing from God.


i have records, pages, entire notebooks filled with the evidence of how God has worked in my life through elevation church.

it's a church made up of imperfect people. it will never be a perfect place. we'll never get it right all the time. we can only do the best with what we have and do whatever we can to honor God and give Him all the glory.

rob and i evaluate and talk about why we love and attend elevation on a pretty regular basis. we're smart people. we're not sheep, blindly following humans who are able to make mistakes and fail us. we trust God and what He is doing and we follow Him in a way that allows us to have an amazing community around us. we talk about it. we pray about it. we listen to the Holy Spirit. we analyze what we see. we discuss. we move forward. in 7 years, we have never come to the conclusion that this body of believers is bad for us, that pastor steven cannot be trusted or that he's selling us anything other than the word and truth of God, that we shouldn't be here anymore. if we thought for one second that pastor steven was full of himself and was only doing this for his glory and his praise, we would be out the door in a heartbeat, no questions. this church, these people do not follow a man named steven, we follow God. BUT pastor steven is possibly the best and most charismatic, powerful speaker i've ever had the privilege of hearing. he communicates the word of God with power, conviction, and passion. i believe he is anointed by God to preach and teach God's word and that he does it with the utmost excellence AND humility.

i love this church. through it, God has reshaped my life. from a broken, lonely, confused college student, to someone who is growing and learning who they are in Christ. 7 years ago, i was scared. i was a bad friend, i was cutting myself consistently, and i felt like i had no direction in my life. 7 years later, i'm changed. God has done some amazing things in my life. and i'm not saying those things couldn't have happened without elevation. but i'm so glad that i've had this body of Jesus-followers surrounding me, pushing me, encouraging me, and loving me.

i completely understand that the evangelical megachurch is not for everyone. there are people out there that have legitimate reasons to not want to attend a church like elevation. one of my best friends is pretty vocal against some of the core practices of a megachurch. we still love each other, and i don't get offended when i meet people that don't like elevation (except for the people who bash it but have never stepped foot in the doors or given it a chance. that's a bit unfair). i want people to meet Jesus and worship Him in a way that makes sense to them. if that's at a megachurch with multiple campuses and egroups, great. if that's at a small church with 50 members, awesome. whatever fits your life.

we love elevation. we tithe to elevation, not because we feel pressured, but because we know we are giving to God and giving to see more people reached by the Gospel. we volunteer our time and resources, and we've spent years pouring into the community and being poured into.

elevation isn't perfect, and neither are we. God's glory is all that matters, and His grace covers us when we fail. we don't agree with every single detail of what happens at elevation, but we trust that the heart behind it all is to serve and worship God. at the end of the day, we follow God and the Holy Spirit, and for the past seven years and in this moment, He is allowing us to be a part of this amazing movement. and until He tells us otherwise, this is where we will stay planted

Monday, September 16, 2013

Our House, In the Middle of Our Garage

We are building a house!!

Some days I'm terrified.

Some days I'm really excited about it.

Some days I'm just feeling lazy and don't want to do it.

Most days, it's a combination of all of those things.

And yet,

Here we are. Building a house!

On this:

We picked up our trailer a couple weeks ago and have started building. The silver you see on the trailer is the flashing that goes underneath everything to help keep rodents and bugs out. On top of that will go the insulation, followed by the plywood for the floors. Then, we'll start framing our walls!

We've been working on and off for a couple of weeks. I'm hoping we'll find a good rhythm soon. Last week we didn't get any work done because I had some church events and Robert was getting ready to go racing. Hopefully this week, we'll be more productive.

We've also been building a shed at the shop. We've built this partially for practice in building and mostly to have some storage space at our shop. You can see inside the bays in the first picture, and that's just a small glimpse at all of the stuff we have back there. It's a lot. So we made a shed to store it all in. We just need to finish painting it, and it's all done.  Here are some pictures of the building process of the shed.

Important notes: felt paper is the same thing as fiberglass insulation. It will get in your skin and stick there. So don't work on it in shorts and a t-shirt. Just saying...

And here's some of our progress on the trailer. In this first picture, I'm putting down duct tape (think waterproof, higher quality than the kind we used to wrap our bibles in high school) on all of the seams of the flashing. I'm wearing giant ear muffs is because when Rob was drilling all the bolts into the trailer it was hella loud. No thank you.

So that's our update for now. If you're following any or all of our various social media updates, then this is nothing new. It feels weird to be updating everything. I don't want to be redundant or annoying in our updates, but dangit if I'm not excited about this tiny home.

Pinterest has been a massive help through this process. We've created an account specifically for our tiny home that has been helping us gather useful and innovative ideas. Check it out to see what we're thinking.

Other ways to keep up with our progress:


The process has been good so far. I've gotten to talk to a lot of people about our decision and our process, and it's really cool. People have been encouraging and interested all around, and I'm excited to keep moving forward!

Another picture, unrelated, included just for funsies.

These ladies!! These are the ladies of my egroup, and I love them. They've made the last year of my life so much richer and happier, and I'm unendingly grateful to have them. That's all :)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Tiny Home Update

A lot has changed and a lot has stayed the same in the last 4 months. Four months ago I posted some pictures of a tiny home we saw in Asheville and how we weren't planning on living in anything quite so small.


Things have changed.

Our house will be bigger than the 117 square foot Lusby (see previous entry) but not by much. We're planning on building a mix between the CypressFencl and Linden models that you can see at the Tumbleweed website. We have purchased the framing plans for the Cypress 20, but we're going to design the inside however we want (once we figure that out).

Some rough details to start:

-the house will be roughly 144 sq feet
-it will be built on a trailer that is roughly 8x20ft
-we plan to build it at the shop that we own, drive it from there to the property we end up with, and then leave it stationary there
-we plan to live there semi-permanently (a couple of years) until we decide to build a bigger home
-we're super excited!!

We put a down payment on our trailer this week. We purchased a custom built trailer from Kaufman Trailers here in North Carolina. Our trailer should be finished in 4-6 weeks, during which time we'll be collecting raw materials and getting our general plans together for the layout of the house. Our goal is to begin working on the trailer as soon as it gets here.

Today, Robert and I went around to a couple places to get some ideas for materials, decorations, and plans. There are a couple of Habitat for Humanity ReStores in our area, and we also went to Lowe's. In a lot of cases, the prices at a bigger store like Lowe's are similar to what you can find repurposed. It all depends on what you're looking for. The beauty of building a tiny home is that even if the individual materials are just as expensive (if not more so in the case of custom windows and doors), you need less of them!

We're both really excited about moving forward with this. Our family is moderately to incredibly supportive. Our finances are mostly in order. The next step is to start getting rid of some things and keep looking for materials so we can start building soon!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tiny Home, Big Adventure

In my last post, I talked a little about the changes Rob and I are hoping to make in our lives this year and the beginning stages of that.
This weekend, Robert and I spent 2 days in Asheville at a Tumbleweed Tiny Home workshop. We sat in a room with 100 other people, just like us, with similar dreams regarding their home, and we learned more about what it means to build and live in a tiny home. And it was awesome!!

One of my biggest gripes so far in this process has been the lack of support from just about everyone. Our families think we're a little crazy for wanting to live in a smaller-than-"average" home, and our friends seem like they support us and are excited for us but we realized after talking to more people about it that they still thought we were a little weird for wanting to go this route. So sitting in a room with dozens of people who know exactly what you're talking about and where you're coming from is super refreshing!

So, what does tiny living look like?

Well, reeeeally tiny living looks like this:

This is the Lusby. It is a 117 square foot home that you build on a trailer. You can leave it stationary if you want, but most people build them to have some added mobility in their lives. There is a loft for a mattress above the two tiny rooms, and there is space for small appliances, such as a mini refrigerator and stove. If you are prepared to strip down and live simple, I would imagine 2 people could live in this with very little problems.

This is not the house we want for ourselves, it's just the model they brought to the workshop. And honestly, I'm hoping that if we show more people these pictures, they will be less appalled, shocked, and generally pessimistic when we show them our own plans.

Either way, I'm learning more to be excited about what I'm excited about with less apologies. So a tiny home is unconventional? Still excited. So our families think we're a little crazy and haven't thought through everything? Still excited. So I just cut my hair really short and my husband may not love it? Still excited.
Not directly related, but it translates, I promise.

So we decided to drive to Asheville for this workshop because we're ready to start planning and don't want to wait, but the great news is that the Tumbleweed Workshop is actually coming to Charlotte in June! I would love to meet more people who are on the same path that we are in this. Just meeting like-minded people this weekend was enough encouragement in itself. If you think you might be interested at all, you should go! It's not just about the novelty of living in a small home. There's so much more to it than that. There are factors like environmental impact, the benefits of simpler living, and the freedom of having less stuff and less space to manage.

Ella was the presenter for the workshop and she has her own tiny home: The Fencl.
Check it out! And let me know what you think, even if you don't ever want to live in a tiny home.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Out With the Old, End of Story

A couple of months ago, a salad changed everything for us.

No, but really. I was eating a salad for lunch one day, and I turned to Rob and said, "I don't want to keep living the same way we are now."

I had already been thinking about the implications of changing our perspective and living differently, but for some reason, that salad just pushed me over the edge. It sparked new conversations and dreams for Robert and I, and we've been on a new path ever since.

That was a few months ago, and this week we've finished moving out of our apartment and into my mother-in-law's house. We'll stay there while we save money and find some property to buy, and hopefully in 2013 we'll build a house. And a tiny one, at that. Yes, we are on a journey to simplify!

For me, that fateful salad really represented my desire to change the way I live daily, mostly in terms of food. Right now, we eat crap, we don't pay attention to where our food is coming from or what is in it, and we're not being responsible for our foodie decisions. Because we run our own business, the easiest thing each day is to grab fast food and eat it quickly before moving on to the next things, and it's just so awful. I want to change the way we see food and the way we eat it.

Along with my desire the change the way we eat, I want to change the way we live altogether. More and more, I am convicted about all the "stuff" we have. All the junk, the garbage, the pointless bits and pieces. We hold on to so much stuff!! "Stuff" has quickly become a four letter word in my mind, and I want to get rid of it all. So as we moved out of our 1200 sq ft apartment, we made a real effort to let go of some of the things we've held on to. For us, we had a second bedroom filled with things that we forgot we even had, but somehow it was still hard to let go of some of them. Because we've been trained to want more stuff and keep it all. Thankfully, in the end, we were able to give away about two cars full of things to Goodwill, plus 5-10 bags of trash. And that is only scratching the surface. We moved the rest of our stuff into a 10x15 storage unit, and the plan is to go back every so often and keep pruning.

The process has been disappointingly difficult. I'm sad that we care so much about the things that we own. I'm sad that we own so much and that it's so hard to give away. I'm sad that the hardest part for me will be training myself to not buy new stuff every time I see something pretty at target or convince myself we don't have enough. I'm sad that living simply/minimalistic is unusual in our part of the world. I'm mostly sad at the shocked/horrified faces of others when we tell them we want to get rid of all our crap and live in a tiny home.

I didn't realize until this year that as an adult, I can do any freaking thing I want to. I really didn't get that. But now I do. And now I want to do something awesome. I want to live a better life with my husband. I want to dream big, even when others don't understand or aren't along for the ride. So this is where we start. Getting rid of the old stuff, changing the way we buy new stuff, and rebooting the way we live. I can't wait to update more on our next steps!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Waiting to be Revealed

There are so many facets to a personality. There are things we like about ourselves and things we don't. There are qualities that make us seem wonderful and others that drag us down, and no matter what we do, they affect every interaction and reaction we experience. There are so many days where I find myself wishing I could change my personality and become someone else. I tell myself I'm going to worry less, or work harder, or be less emotional.

Last year, I didn't really spend time digging my fingers into my word. I let the year go by without even letting it touch me, this concept of love. I knew I wanted to learn more about it. About His consuming way. About giving out of the overflow. But looking back on it now, there wasn't much overflow for me to give out of.

I've spent a lot of time pushing down my feelings, quelling the desire to be open with others, and generally pushing myself--my heart--away. I've shut myself down just in the hope that no one else would have a chance to. I've been told I'm too emotional, I cry too much, I can't control myself, I need to grow up. I have believed it all, and I've spoken it over myself.

The responsible adult in me wants to point out that there is indeed a time and a place for sharing heartfelt (sometimes ugly, embarrassing) emotions with others, and it's important to be tactful. But the actual human in me wants to scream and cry and dance and jump and flail and collapse in response to the real things happening in my heart. The feels, if you will.

All of this squishing and cramming my emotions down caused some unwanted side effects. You can't kill your feelings again and again and expect them to be intact if it suddenly benefits you to have them. I started to work so hard at not feeling the bad that I ended up losing some of the good with it. I celebrated if I made it through a stressful situation without tears. I judged myself based on how I felt inside, and I would worry so much about what other people thought of my emotions and reactions. And eventually I started to learn that you can't partially kill something. The deep, heartfelt joy will suffocate right along with the grief you're trying to bury. It's all or nothing.

So here I am, one year later, maybe not as well versed in love as I'd like to be, but ready to face a year of identity retrieval. And now I realize that no matter how much I want love to pervade my life, I will not be able to offer to others what I don't already have for myself.  Until I learn that it's ok to be who I am and love myself, I can't really accept all the good, bad, and ugly in others. But the first step in loving myself is knowing more about me.

If you asked me today, "who are you?" my answers would revolve around my job, my husband, my church, what I do, what I own. And those things make up a lot of my day-to-day life, but they do not make up my heart and soul. I believe that God created me uniquely and beautifully, and that He has so much to show me about my own heart. And maybe the most beautiful part in this journey is that in searching to know who God created me to be, I will be better equipped to see, know, and love others.

I imagine the answers to the questions I have will develop like negatives in a darkroom, slowly, gradually, with brilliant results. The time I take to hear and heed the guidance of the Creator will undoubtedly pay off in the end, but it may not bring instantaneous change in my life. Regardless, I'm waiting in eager expectation for God to reveal all He has for me. And I trust that I'm not the only one on this road.

{we know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. not only so, but we ourselves who have the firstfruits of the spirit groan inwardly as we anxiously await our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. for in this hope we were saved} {romans 8.22-24}

Monday, February 4, 2013

{Happy Anniversary}

Our anniversary (December 29th) and Christmas are so close together that I get the feeling we'll always be playing catch-up when it comes to celebrating our anniversary. Which is fine because it's just one day. I do love a celebration, but I want our marriage to be celebrated every day of the year, not just at the mile marker. This year we decided to forgo gifts and take a little trip to celebrate the holidays and our special day. As one of our anniversary gifts, Rob's family got us season passes to the Biltmore house! Essentially, the passes just get you onto the property for free whenever you want throughout the year. So for our special trip, we spent the weekend in Asheville at the Biltmore. If you've never been and you're in the NC area, I definitely recommend it. It's a beautiful property with so much history behind it. I love hearing the stories of the Vanderbuilt family and how they created this space.

We drove up Friday after work through a terrible ice storm (not really, this is only North Carolina), and what should have been a 2.5 hour trip took about 4. But we made it safely! When we got there, we found this awesome movie night care package from Rob's family and a giftcard to go to tea. It was so sweet of them to do so much for us.

This was our Saturday morning view:

So beautiful. On Saturday we went to the actual house and took a behind-the-scenes tour, which was really interesting. We were at the house in October with Rob's family, and we did the general house tour then. It was cool this time to get a special glimpse at what had to happen to make every day run smoothly in a house so big. Just thinking about all the chores makes my head hurt.

That afternoon, we thought we'd take a nice leisurely bike ride around the grounds, so we bundled up and got ready for an hour-long ride. What actually happened was the bike ride from hell. We got lost and ended up biking six miles.Well really half-biking, half-push-your-bike-up-this-huge-hill-omg. It was pretty treacherous and really the only comfort was that we had scheduled horseback riding for the next day. Our butts rejoiced!!

{seriously, this cow was the best part of the bike ride}

On Sunday we went horseback riding, which was amazing! It was super cold out, so I pretty much made every attempt at being warm. No lie, at one point I had on two pairs of socks, boots, long johns, jeans, tank top, short sleeve shirt, long sleeve shirt, two cardigans, sweatshirt, two jackets with hoods, gloves, and a scarf. I'm now a professional layer-er. 

Pancho and I had a great time together. Somehow Rob and I managed to get the two slowest horses they had, so we did a lot of kicking. We had a lot of fun, and it was definitely worth squeezing in last minute.

And finally in the last last minute, we had some tea! They have afternoon tea where you can choose from 9 different kinds of tea and eat a bunch of dainty finger foods that make you feel pretty swanky. And no lie, at the table across from us was a very proper family in proper dresses and khakies and blazers and whatnot. They were super nice, but I couldn't help laughing. Pip pip.

I was not as classy as those people. I had just gotten off a horse and hadn't showered in a while. But that doesn't make a good tea any less enjoyable!
Overall, I'm so glad we got to spend a weekend together doing things we enjoy. We're blessed with a supportive and generous family who helped make this happen, and I couldn't be more grateful!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Favorite Things {2012}

Everyone loves lists, right?

Here's a list of some of my favorite things in 2012. Not necessarily things that were released in the year, but just things I discovered, read, or listened to.


+ Dracula : Bram Stoker. If you've never read the old school version of Twilight (just kidding), you're missing out! Suspenseful, frightening, gripping. Obviously it's an older book, and I found the words are more descriptive, the language is deeper, and overall it's very beautifully written. I highly recommend it if you're looking for something fun to read or if you like to escape in a book. It's one of those books where you just have to know what's coming next.
+ Unglued : Lysa Terkeurst. I've always considered myself someone with unusually strong emotions. I feel everything deeply and often my emotions have physical properties, too, which makes everything feel even stronger. There have been many times in my life where my emotions seem to take over and leave me blown over. Lysa teaches how to process emotions in a way that gives you the upper hand and encourages you to get a grip on them before you really need to. So instead of waiting for a stressful situation to come up and test your control, have a plan of attack beforehand.
+ Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close : Jonathan Safran Foer. Oh my gosh, this book. I devoured this book in three days. It's beautifully written and completely heartbreaking. A boy is dealing with the death of his dad and searching for clues to put together a puzzle of sorts that will lead him to more information about his dad's life. It also weaves in stories of his other families members, and it's such a great story about families ties, love, honesty, grief, and moving on. I haven't seen the movie yet, and I'd love to know if it's worth seeing after reading the book.
+ The Crowd, the Critic, and the Muse: a Book for Creators : Michael Gungor. I won't go into much detail here because I did mention this in a list already, but this book is amazing. If you've ever considered yourself a creator or ever wanted to create something (poetry, music, art), you need this book in your life. It's about creating art and the voices we listen to when we create.
+ Beautiful Outlaw : John Eldredge. Recently I heard a bit of controversy about this book and theology within it, but I'm a big believer in the principle: "eat the fish and leave the bones." You can learn something from anything. Just because you read a book doesn't mean you have to adhere to every lesson it teaches. There are lessons to hold onto and lessons to throw away. But I digress. I loved this book. John talks about how we often read the Gospels without taking time to imagine or discern what Jesus' personality was like. I find myself very detached from Jesus because it's hard to imagine him as a real person who lived and walked the earth with quirks and characteristics. His playfulness, his generosity, his humility. He was a real person with feelings and emotions and actions. He is not a list of miracles or a book of words. He is a person who understands who we are and what we feel like. I think I need to read this book again.


+ Night Vision : Imagine Dragons. Easily my favorite album of the year. They were the iTunes free single of the week at one point, and after listening to one song of theirs, I decided to get the whole album. I love a band with a unique male vocal, and I love this album for the vocals and for the rhythm of it. There's something about the drum patterns all throughout the album that get to me. I play this most often at work on Fridays because it always lifts my mood and makes me feel like the day is going to be a good one.
+ Babel : Mumford and Sons. It actually took me a little while to really get into this album, but I do love it. Robert and I watched the music video for one of the songs, Lover of the Light, and we really loved the song, which inspired me to buy the whole album. It's been consistently played at work and is growing on me every day. I like that the songs are mostly upbeat, and the talent this band has is amazing. Just listening to them play their instruments is inspiring. And exhausting.
+ Handmade Songs : Tori Kelly. Oh my gosh, this girl can sing! I found out about her when a friend of mine posted a link to this video of her doing Michael Jackson's Pretty Young Thing. The 2:25 mark will change your life. It's hard for me to comprehend how any one person has that much talent. Her voice is pure, and her control over it is impeccable. She's incredibly skilled at guitar, and her songs are beautifully written. Bring Me Home is one of my favorites. She's definitely one of those artists that is so amazingly talented, she inspires me to pick up a guitar and work harder on my vocal skills. She is endlessly impressive, and I want to be more like her. Please go buy her album.
+ Talk that Talk : Rihanna. Nope, I'm not joking. This was definitely one of my favorite albums this year. I don't love all of the radio singles Rihanna puts out, but so many of these songs for me are feel-good, dance around in front of your bathroom mirror songs haha. You guys do that, right? Admittedly, some of them made me feel unclean just listening to them, she can be outright nasty. But mostly it's a fun album, with two songs that I completely loved: We All Want Love and Fool in Love. I think it's worth buying those two songs at least, even if you don't like the rest of her music.


+ Makeup : Fortunately and unfortunately, I discovered the joy of using high end beauty products this year. There are times when it isn't worth it to buy the most expensive thing, but honestly, a lot of the time, you get what you pay for. Paying for brands like Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel, Urban Decay, MAC, etc. get you the very best in quality and value. I will definitely say that I've been buying way too much makeup this year and am trying hard to cut back, but I'll also say that I feel like it's worth it to spend money on quality items. Check out my Pinterest board for some of the things I've been using this year.
+ Blogs :  I've gotten more into reading blogs this year, and there are some great ones out there. I think my favorite has been Momastery. I love Glennon. She's so real and honest and beautiful. I know she is not perfect and never attempts to be, and I think that alone is worth seeing. Sydney at the Daybook is also a favorite of mine. Her blog has definitely shifted focus over the last year, but it's still true to her. She posts great pictures, wears amazingly put-together outfits, and has an adorable baby. What's not to love? Erin at Reading my Tea Leaves has a great blog full of helpful tips for living in a small apartment and inspiring pictures of little moments throughout her week. Finally, Bleubird has been one of my favorite blogs for a long time. Sometimes it's hard to realize how long you've followed someone until you realize you're watching their children grow up! James is an inspiring blogger, her family is beautiful, and her Bits + Pieces feature is my favorite feature on any blog right now.
+ Apps : How can you make a list in this day and age and not include favorite apps? Daily Audio Bible is a great way to get more of the bible in your life without having to carve out time to sit down and stop everything else. I still think quiet time is awesome, but this app really helps me get into the right mindset for the day. I listen while getting ready in the morning or in the car on the way to work. Rob doesn't love the guy who does the readings because he has a "creepy whisper voice," but I find it calming and pleasant. YouVersion is another great bible app. They have so many pre-built reading plans. I'm currently doing a Canonical plan that takes me straight through the bible in a year. They also have devotions correlating to books and plans taking you through the bible in different time frames. Teux Deux is a great list app. It's simple, straightforward, and clean. If you like making lists, this is a great app to use.

Well that's enough, I think. Congrats if you made it through all that! And let me know what your favorite movies, music, books, etc. were this year. I already have a growing list of 16+ books I want to read this year, and this week I bought 4 or 5 albums with some Christmas money that I'm excited to get into hope. I hope everyone's 2013 is off to a great start!!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year, New Word

+ condition or character as to who a person or what a thing is
+ the sense of self, providing sameness and continuity in personality over time

Who am I?

Last year my word was love.
I don't know that I learned as much as I was hoping when it comes to love. I definitely learned some things. That love is not easy. That love is not just love on its own. It is also patience, kindness, gentleness, truth, courage. It encompasses much and requires much and is worth it every time.

Throughout the year, I often fell short of my own expectations to love others. And there would be times that I labeled myself as an unloving person.  I would get discouraged and feel like I should be a better person. And throughout the year, I heard over and over that I should find my identity in God and not what I do or who I want to be.

Find your identity in God.

Sounds good.
But how?

Well, I have no idea. That's why identity is my word for 2013. Because it's a journey. One that I have waited too long to embark on.

I know that it starts with soaking up more of Him. In order to learn more about the creation, you should get to know the Creator, right?

I've realized lately that I don't always know who I am. Sometimes I wonder about my feelings and where they came from and how I came to feel them. Sometimes, someone will ask me how I feel about something, and my only response is "I don't know." I don't know who I am. I don't know what I feel or why I feel it. I get nervous when I realize that I believe differently than the people I love. But that's silly because no two people will every feel the exact same way about every topic.

So I'm taking this year to figure it out. Who am I? Who does God say I am? How can I keep that in the forefront of my mind when worry, doubt, and uncertainty all seem to creep in? How do I find my identity in Him?

I'm not sure yet, but I'm excited to see how He shapes me and forms me in new ways this year. I know He is faithful and that if I'm seeking wisdom with a heart that longs to know Him more, He will provide. Here's to discovering new things this year.